Natural Scenery

Accomplishing ‘triple crown of hiking’ no walk in the park for Albion man

Matthew Jackson of Albion during a hike in New Zeeland.

ALBION — Matthew Jackson has seen more of the world than most.

The 6-foot-5 native of Kentucky has long had an appetite for adventure, well before he and his wife moved to Albion four years ago. The 43-year-old estimated he’s hiked over 10,000 miles in his life, including treks across the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas.

The biggest feather in Jackson’s cap is arguably conquering “the triple crown of hiking,” the informal recognition of completion of the three major U.S. long-distance hiking trails: the Appalachian (AT), Pacific Crest (PCT) and the Continental Divide (CDT). He accomplished the feat between 2002 and 2006, taking a year off between each hike.

“Within the first couple weeks, I was still in Maine on the Appalachian Trail and I saw the long, skinny Pacific Crest Trail maps and saw it went through Sequoia, Kings Canyon, went near Mt. Rainier and all these other things,” Jackson recalled. “I compared that to the Appalachian Trail, so within the first weeks, I said, ‘I’m definitely going to do the PCT.’ Once I finished the PCT, it was like, ‘Well I should just go for the third one, because now it’s a way of life.'”

Becoming “Pi”

Matthew Jackson, who holds the Triple Crown of Hiking, poses for a photograph on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 at Whitehouse Nature Center in Albion, Michigan. The Triple Crown of Hiking is earned by hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.

On Oct. 13, Jackson was the guest speaker for the North Country Trail Association meeting in Albion, sharing with the group his favorite memories and some of the challenges from his six-year quest.

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He said it was while hiking the Appalachian Trail where he picked up his trail name, “Pi.”

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